A marriage that ended badly. A business partnership that dissolved less than amicably. A sore loser in a lawsuit. An obsessed coworker. Or your child who’s constantly harassed in and out of school. Whatever the circumstances, Maine law offers protection from harassment for you and your family.
Maine’s Protection From Harassment Law
This law protects you from any individual who harasses you and/or your family, whether or not they are members of the family or your household. The law applies if:
- You and/or your family, or your business, have been intimidated, confronted, or threatened with harm by an individual three or more times, and you felt afraid, threatened, or suffered property damage at the hands of this individual
- The harassing individual commits one of many criminal acts against you, your family or business, such as:
- Criminal assault
- Criminal restraint (including by parent)
- Violation of privacy
- Gross sexual assault
- Harassment by telephone or other electronic device
- Threatens your free exercise of your Constitutional rights (you can also contact the ACLU of Maine for assistance in this.)
Harassment based on race, sex, ancestry, color, religion, nationality, sexuality or disability is also illegal. You should contact the Maine Attorney General’s office at 207-626-8800, Ext. 4 to file a complaint under the Maine Civil Rights Act. However, you can still file a Protection from Harassment complaint if the AG’s office can’t help.
Filing A Harassment Complaint
Before you can file, you’ll need to report the harassment to local law enforcement. Request a written statement or other documentation from the officer (such as a case number) to take to court if it becomes necessary to file a complaint.
In some circumstances, you may be required to request that law enforcement to issue a notice to the harasser to cease and desist before filing the complaint. This step is not required if:
- The harassment is related to domestic violence, violence from a dating partner, stalking or sexual assault
- A notice to stop harassment has already been issued by law enforcement and the harassment continues
- The harasser has committed one of the crimes listed above.
Once that’s completed, you’ll fill out a form at the courthouse where you live, or where the defendant lives. (If you’ve moved to escape the harasser, you can also file in the jurisdiction where you now live.) Clerk of court offices have all the necessary forms, and they are also available online. Court personnel can assist you with filling out the forms, but can’t fill them out for you or give legal advice.
These forms include a Protection Order Service Information, which is used by police to locate and serve the other party.
Once your forms are completed, you’ll pay a filing fee.
If you don’t want the other party to know where you are, leave the address forms blank, and ask for an Affdavit For Confidential Address, explaining why you need to keep this information sealed, for the safety of you and/or your children.
The clerk will set a court date. Meantime, you’ll need to have the other party served with papers. You’ll bring a copy of the original complaint along with a summons and a copy of the summons to the local law enforcement, and pay a fee of between $15 and $30 for service. Once the defendant has been served, the hearing can proceed.
A protection from harassment order is a civil order that protects you, your family, or your business from harassment regardless of the harasser’s relationship to you.
For more information, you can read the guide that’s available from the State of Maine’s Judicial Branch.
Your Family Law Attorney In Gorham, ME
Harassment is against the law, and you may need help. Peter W. Evans has been helping residents of Maine with various family law matters for more than 25 years. Mr. Evans works with both domestic abuse victims and as well as those falsely accused. Call (207) 747-5114 today or contact us online to make an appointment.